Fair Fa’ Your Honest, Sonsie Face

Burns Night on the 25th January is the last of the Scottish winter revelries and celebrates the life and work of national poet and lyricist, Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns. It’s a great excuse to get your tartan on and have a Scottish themed party.  Every year I get a group of friends together and have a Burns Night Supper, albeit a smaller version than some. Thistles, tartan and all things Scottish decorate the room while music (usually the Proclaimers or Andy Stewart belting out Donald Where’s Your Troosers?) plays throughout the evening. Everyone is invited to bring along a poem they’ve found, either a Burns poem or a fun one they like and read it out after supper.  The meal itself doesn’t really vary, although we have served up the Haggis in a variety of ways over the years. Last year we created a tower of Haggis, Neeps & Tatties with whisky gravy and wild boar sausages; a triumph! Traditionally a supper menu includes Cock-a-Leekie soup, followed by the Haggis and then Cranachan (a most heavenly pudding).  Of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without a whisky tasting.  This is the part of the evening the boys take particular relish in; each trying to outdo the other with their florid descriptions of the liquid in their glass.  The challenge, ultimately, is to find out whether what they’re drinking is a lovely pure Malt or a Blend. The results have created many a dispute. And, finally, once the formalities are over, the Haggis eaten and the whisky gone, it’s time for a bit of Scottish country dancing!  No matter the size of your house, there’s always room for a Highland Fling.

If hosting your own Burns supper is a trifle daunting you can always head to your local restaurant or pub where you may well find they’re having their own festivities.  At  Hix at Browns Mark Hix and Singh Kohli are cooking up a magnificent Burns Banquet.   This year, we’re heading to The Bell in Stoke Mandeville for their inaugural supper.  Bring it on!

Traditional Burns Night Running Order:-

Piping in Guests – if you’re brave enough and your neighbours don’t mind this is a great way to start the feast

A Welcome – the host gives a short welcome speech and introduces the rest of the evening to the guests

Selkirk Grace – this a short prayer, usually recited as the Haggis is carried to the table

Address To The Haggis – an honoured guest is asked to provide a rendition of ‘A Haggis’ once it’s at table

Toast To The Haggis – raise a glass and shout out “The Haggis”!

The Meal – sit down, indulge and enjoy the wonders of said Haggis

The Drink – wine or ale is usually served with the meal itself followed by a whisky tasting, or just a wee dram

Entertainment – poetry and songs from Burns

Toast to The Lassies – a humourous praise of womankind with appropriate Burns’ poems

The Immortal Memory – the host will then take a look back at the life and work of Burns

Dancing – this is where you can get to grips with traditional Scottish Country Dancing and get ‘burled’ about

Auld Lang Syne – written by Burns this is a fitting end to the evening



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